They Didn't Ask Me (dr_phil_physics) wrote,
They Didn't Ask Me
dr_phil_physics

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An Exhausting Weekend

Thursday Night

The DSL modem started acting squirrelly, just a few days after its second anniversary of flawless operation. Two LEDs lit, one blinking, instead of four lit. Turned it off, then on. Came back later -- same state. Cycled the power again, this time waiting until it connected, which it did. Sometime later, back to the blinking state. Cylced the power one more time -- and no LEDs.

Power switch failure? Power supply? The unit is on a UPS/surge protector, and the DSL's phone line is also surge protected.

I got out my Radio Shack multi-meter, but it hasn't been used in a long time, and as an LCD based unit, it needs batteries. Problem was, I'd used the last two E357/A76/S76 type cells back in the summer and hadn't replaced them in the battery drawer. So I raided the laser pointer we use to amuse the cats -- did I mention that geek tech repairs quickly become complicated?

Anyway, the power supply was working, and opening the DSL modem up found power going into the motherboard. Okay. I figured if the switch bought the farm, I'd just short across the two wires -- except the switch had three wires. Sigh.

Friday

When I set up the DSL two years ago, I went out and bought a DSL modem/router at CompUSA, rather than buying a unit from the Allendale phone company. Turns out it's hard to find a DSL modem in a store. Plenty of cable modems. Near as I can tell, people don't trust their cable companies, so buy their own cable modems. DSL customers don't trust their cable companies either, which is why they're buying DSL -- and they tend to buy their equipment from the phone company.

This time I went straight to Allendale Telco and bought a DSL modem bridge.

Saturday

When I set up the DSL two years ago, I also set up two WiFi access points. The first one worked with 128-bit WEP and the Windows 98SE/ME computers liked it just fine. The Windows XP laptops were limited to 40-bit WEP. So the second access point had WPA-PSK encryption, and that's what we've been using mainly. Along the way, I bought what I thought was another WiFi access point the same as the second, but it turned out that it was a wireless access point/broadband router and I've left it in the box since I got it. Now I needed to install it and use it as the router.

1-2 hours of pre-lab work on Friday evening. 3-4 hours of work on Saturday. Starting with having to mess with network cables in order to install a wireless network. (grin)

Square Pegs and Round Holes

I'm old enough to remember having RS-232 serial cables which wouldn't attach to computers because there were protrusions on the cable or on the case which kept them from touching. Or differing types of connectors for the same type connection -- like 4- and 6- wire Firewire cables. Or mini-USB connectors. Or DB25 versus Centronics-36 parallel cables.

But I have never had trouble with an RJ-45 network plug -- except this yellow network cable which came with one of the devices simply wouldn't go into the RJ-45 jack in the laptop. Time to dig out another cable. A blue one. After all, the DSL modem said "use the yellow cable to attach to the router" and the router said "use the blue cable to attach to the network device". (grin)

Eventually... I got the wireless connected to teh Internets. Yay. But now the HP Deskjet 6980's WiFi wouldn't print. Sigh.

Sunday

I assumed that the printer problem was that the Static IP address I assigned wasn't being registered by the new router, which starts off with a different IP range. So I logged onto the WiFi router -- it is cool that things like routers and printers can have network web pages -- and made the changes. And they wouldn't save.

Fine. I dug up the printer manual and found out how to reset the printer to its factory defaults. Then I did it's one-button WiFi coordination with the WiFi access point, logged onto the printer's webpage, changed the newly assigned IP address to a new Static IP address outside of the router's range of dynamic IP addresses...

Anyway, the damned things all work again.

Yay.

Can't decide if I'm enthusiastic about getting it all to work (mostly) the way I want it to, or pissed off that all this techie stuff is so complicated, and despite LEDs and buttons and stuff, you have to dig and dig and dig to even find out what button does what -- the graphic icons are meaningless -- or which of a hundred different configuration ways you might be involved in.

Technology ain't.

Dr. Phil
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